Tag Archives: family

All About the Cheese

Sometimes I let my Andrus (my mom’s side) anxiety hole up in my chest and stay for way too long.  I start asking myself what my future holds and oh god, what if this company doesn’t hire me and do people think I’m a loser?  I get caught up in the crazy talk in my head and it makes my heart beat fast and I wake up with a knot in my stomach, a knot which initially I don’t even know why I have until I remind myself that oh yeah, you have a lot to worry about!  But then I realize that life is good and everything is going to be just fine.  I mean yes, if I spend enough time thinking about the state of our country politically (not because of our President, people!) and all the hate people have, I will probably respond with, “We are so fucked,” but I do recognize that despite those things, my life kicks ass.

Like the other day my older sister and I got to take our grandparents to lunch.  Our grandparents, who are on the doorstep of 90, yet are in generally great health and still have all of their teeth!  We have this amazing privilege to spend time with these amazing people and their amazing teeth!  They are genuine people who make me laugh and make me feel proud to be their granddaughter.  And you know what my grandma did the day after our lunch?  She called me on the phone to say “thanks again” and that they had such a great time.  She told me that when you get older, these are the things that matter, these are the things you look forward to.  That is what matter, people.  Spending time with the people in your life.  Yes, they may be crazy or neurotic or whatever else, but they are your people.  And actually, it’s kind of better if they’re crazy or neurotic, because then you have material with which to write a book.  I mean that’s what I’m planning to do.  It’s a total win-win.  They can’t be mad because you can be like, “Hey, with all the material you provided, I made a zillion dollars and I am totally going to take you to dinner with some of it!”

All of this “live everyday like it’s your last,” sounds cheesy, but I kind of like cheesy.  I’m all about the cheese these days.  I’m about telling people you think they’re pretty great and not holding grudges.  Awwww, I’m growing up.

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The Girl With the Perfect Lips

instagramstevie

I miss Stevie every single day.  Some days though, and I don’t know why, it hits me with such force.  It’s been almost a year since she passed.  It’s cliche, but it feels like ten years and also like just yesterday that I was kissing her amazing lips and acting like a complete fool to get her to show me that grin and hear that stifled giggle.  Not a day passes that I don’t think about the ridiculous words that came out of her mouth.  Her perfect mouth, remember.

I laugh out loud when I think of the time she told the Costco employee to “get the damn watermelon.”    Or when she lectured my cousin by screaming at the top of her lungs, “HEATHER, YOU DON’T DO DRUGS!”  (Heather doesn’t use drugs for the record).  There is such a long list of Stevie quotes and stories and for that I will be forever thankful.

We are still experiencing all of the firsts without her.  This will be the first Halloween trick-or-treating without her.  The seconds seem like they might be just as hard though.  I suppose there becomes a new normal.  I know that the new reality is one in which her memory will forever live.  And I know that even though it feels unfair for her to have left this earth so early, we are so lucky to have had her for the time we did.  Our family is stronger because of her.

Love you so much Stevie Ann!

Literally Putting the Fun in Dysfunction

My family is so fun.  I know I’ve talked about this before.  Like here.  But seriously people, it is kind of out of hand how much of a good time we have together.  I mean we like genuinely like hanging out together.  Our latest hangout, which sadly all the fam couldn’t make, was a trip to Cali.  Last year we went there for Stevie’s Make-A-Wish Trip and so we decided to go back again this year to remember her and celebrate the amazing time she had there just shortly before she passed.

Day one was just a day of hanging out before Universal Studios.  So we did what everyone does that is traveling with a group of 10 and has a day in Long Beach.  We got hammered at a Mexican restaurant and then hung out at the Lakewood Mall.  Oh, that’s not what everyone does?  Well whatever.  That’s what we do.  In all fairness, not all of us were hammered.  My sister’s father-in-law was the instigator and the one ordering all the drinks, so I’m sure he was, but I suppose I should let everyone speak for themselves.  Seriously though, leave it to the old guy to try to get everyone drunk.  Leave it to the rest of us to decide to go to the mall.  It wasn’t even a good mall.  It did have a Target though.  Dylan immediately made use of the Halloween costumes.  You have to admit, he looks really good as a banana.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Day two was really the whole point of the trip – It was the day to get our scare on at Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights!  This is what we did for Stevie’s trip last year, and I am happy to say that I got the shit scared out of me repeatedly once again.  She would have loved that.  Here we are looking scary… or dead.  I don’t know.  Just pretend it’s cool.

We are amazing posers.

We are amazing posers.

After being really scared and really tired, it was time to spend a day relaxing at Newport Beach.  We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful beach house, and I realized once again, that I really would be good at being rich.  As in, I could totally do the whole Newport Beach beach house thing.  Plus, I’m not at all awkward when running into famous people.  While taking the beach cruisers for a spin with my sister and brother, Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray (act like you love them and still know who they are) was also out cruising.  My calm, cool response was to scream and point, “Hey, you’re that guy!”  I don’t know why he didn’t stop and ask us to swing by his place later.  Weird.  It may have been because it took Jess, Spence and I the rest of the bike ride to come up with the first line of their most popular song.  Mark probably knew we weren’t true fans.  I don’t have a picture to prove my celebrity sighting, but I have this picture.

Jess and Spence cruising.

Jess and Spence cruising.

In closing, vacations with my family are kind of amazing.  We laughed so much on this trip (partly because I’m hilarious) and you could just feel the love we have for each other and for Stevie Roonie. Thanks for keeping us together, Stevie.  We know you’re always along for the ride.  Here’s the whole group, some with zombie eyes, which is perfect for a Halloween trip.  Also, I can’t seem to fix it.

A fresh seafood dinner!

A fresh seafood dinner!

Next Stop Game Stop?

So last time I blogged I was all like, “things have to change.”  And guess what?  They have!  I mean I wasn’t expecting the change, but it happened, and so I’m embracing it.  The job I was doing day in and day out that was as my sister said, “crushing my soul” is over.  And you know what?  My soul feels infinitely lighter.  I guarantee you my cortisol levels have plummeted as well.

Obviously the loss of one of the loves of my life is still there.  There will always be a piece of me missing in some way because of that loss.  Now I feel like I have the ability to honor her though.  I want the choices I make, big and small, to be choices that Stevie can look down on and say, “Good job, Aunt Sonie.”

Last Friday Rob and I took our nephew to a campout at Red Butte Garden.  I literally had to pick Dylan up 20 minutes after the news of losing my job.  Of course, I tried my best to hold it together, but I was a bit emotional.  Can I just tell you how great Dylan made me feel though?  Leave it to an 11 year old.  Not only did he say how sorry he was that I lost my job many times throughout the weekend but he also thought up new jobs.  It turns out he feels very strongly that I should work at Game Stop.  Yes, the video game store.  It took everything in me to not completely crack up.  Instead I was like, “Well, I don’t really like video games very much.”  Dylan assured me that it didn’t matter and that it is “the easiest job ever.”  The kid is dead serious.  If I don’t want to work at Game Stop, option number two was Subway.  Subway was my first job nearly 20 years ago.  I think I’ll try for something else.

How lucky I am to have Dylan and others in my life who lift me up and remind me what this life is all about.  Here’s to my next adventure and making Stevie proud!

Treading Water

Wow, it’s been close to a year since I last wrote a blog post.  And you know what?  That makes me sad.  Like not just, oh bummer but like wow, is this really how much time has passed?  Is life really passing me by (yes) and before I know it I’m going to be an old lady saying, “Where did the time go?”  Yeah, I know, everyone says that.  Where does the time go!  Has it really been that long?  It feels like just yesterday that…  But I mean I’m legitimately concerned.

Life is hard.  Or is it that we make it hard?  No, things happen that make it hard.  We lose people we love, relationships end or take a turn that leaves people feeling hurt and unwanted, we have to work when we want to play.  The list goes on, right?  But for so long now I’ve been saying, to myself and out loud to those who will listen, that I don’t want that to be my life anymore.  I don’t want to feel like I’m drowning, like I don’t have time for the things or people I love.  I don’t want to schedule in fun time.  Honestly, sometimes I find myself thinking, okay, I have two hours to have fun and then I must get something else done.  What is that?  It’s just me, partially, yes.  But it’s also that I feel like if I’m not getting something done I’m not contributing.  I’m not doing my part.  And things need to get done dammit!  I’m also drowning.  My life balance has been thrown off with job changes and not quite figuring out how to get it all in.

I lost my niece a little over 8 months ago.  If you’ve followed this blog before, you may remember me talking about her several times.  Like here.  There are like a million other places I blogged about her but I’m too lazy to link them all.  Of course I am not my sister.  Stevie was not my child.  She was like a child to me though.  She was a big purpose in my life though.  Helping her, helping my sister gave me so much purpose in my life.  Was it easy?  No.  Was it the best thing I’ve ever done?  Yes.  I miss her everyday.  She reminds me that life is short.  As a friend said the other day, “We are living on borrowed time.”  And yet, do I really live like I’m on borrowed time?  Not as much as I should.  Not as much as Stevie would want.  

So what am I saying?  I don’t know, really.  Maybe I do but I haven’t written in so long that I can’t figure out how to put it all into words.  I do know that I need to figure it out really soon though.  

Family Camping 90’s Style

Have I mentioned how much I love my family?  I mean yes, we’re dysfunctional as shit, but we are also insanely awesome.  It’s like we’re hilarious and amazing on our own and then you put us all together and it’s like what just happened?  And I start wondering if maybe, just maybe, we are some of the funniest people that ever lived. It’s possible.

Anyway, now that we’ve established just how incredible we all are, let’s talk about our most recent outing.  It was a quick trip to the HOA (Hendrickson Outdoor Adventure, named after my sister and her husband that own the property – the Hendricksons) but we still managed to jam it with lots of good memories…. 90’s style!

My bro, Spencer, came up with the 90’s idea.  Acting as if we didn’t own cell phones and only listening to music that was 90’s or pre-90’s sounded like the perfect way to spend the weekend.  Sometimes you just need to unplug.  Plus, my mom was kicking it super old school hiking around with her Sony Walkman.  That’s right, Walkman, as in she was listening to a tape!  Pink Floyd to be specific.  How cool is that?!  Oh, also, the Walkman was being carried around in some sort of fanny pack. Bam!

In addition to the 90’s theme, there was also a redneck theme going on as well. That means ATV rides, shooting guns and blowing shit up.  To be clear, people were shooting guns at things to blow them up.  It was loud and Captain Redneck (my brother-in-law Heath) was beaming from ear to ear.  Spence even got into the spirit of things with a full-on redneck accent.  And he shot a gun!

Now ATV riding is not necessarily a redneck thing, but it can be, so I say it is.  And you know what?  The group ATV rides are so fun.  Everyone was riding with someone else except my mom who drove her own because 1) she’s too nervous to let someone else drive and 2) it gives her the ability to tell us over and over again that she doesn’t want us waiting for her and that she likes to go slow.  We waited anyway.  After a section that was a little rocky we had all been hanging out for a few minutes trying to dry our butt sweat when she pulled up and yelled, “Fuck this! Could you have picked a worse road, Heath?”  Honestly, he totally could have picked a worse road but I for one am very happy that she thought it sucked so much.  If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had something to laugh our assess off at that particular moment.

At some point on the way back she took a wrong turn and we were ready for the comments about how we left her when she returned but nope.  She drove in cackling like a witch instead.  She is full of surprises!

I’m hoping for round two in September.  In the meantime, here are some pics to hold you over.  Unfortunately I have no pics of the man that made it all possible. I’m sure you’re disappointed, Heath.

My nephew, Dylan "crashing" on the ATV.  Don't worry, I went along with it.

My nephew, Dylan “crashing” on the ATV. Don’t worry, I went along with it.

Mom of the Year and the one and only Stevie.

Mom of the Year and the one and only Stevie.

My favorite shot.  Love you brother!

My favorite shot. Love you brother!

Spence, Mom and me.  Notice the fannypack.

Spence, Mom and me. Notice the fannypack.

My stepdaughter Emily and her boyfriend Taylor.

My stepdaughter Emily and her boyfriend Taylor.

Ummm can you say bad ass?

Ummm can you say bad ass?

A Long Weekend in the Woods

Sometimes you just need a long weekend away getting your camp on.  Or, if you’re my husband, you think you need to go camping every weekend.  He’s weird though, so we’re not taking his opinion into account.  Anyway, we camped over Memorial weekend, like we always do and it was a great little escape.

Eating delicious food (and way too much of it), going for long hikes, riding bikes around the campground and playing games together are all the things I love about camping.  Plus, you have a great excuse for not taking a shower.  Not that I like to go for long periods of time without a shower, but sometimes a shower just gets in the way of all the things going on in a day, so.  Yeah.

Of course there are downsides to camping.  For one, there’s the whole bathroom situation.  We have a small tent trailer, that has a bathroom in it, but when there are three of us staying in it, it’s a better idea to just use the campground bathrooms. You know, the ones with doors.  Doors that lock, by the way, Mr. Taking a Poop Without Locking the Door!  Yeah, there’s a story here.

On the last day I walked over to the bathroom and opened the door to a man sitting on the toilet.  Yep.  It scared the shit out of me.  Not literally, but I jumped about 10 feet in the air as he sat there acting as casual as can be.  He honestly waved this slow, casual wave and then said (also very slowly, I might add), “Yeah, doesn’t lock.” Which, by the way, is entirely untrue.  I had been locking the thing for three days! And also, if it really doesn’t lock, how about putting a sign on the door or something before sitting down to take a crap?  You ever think of that dude?!  No, because he obviously could care less, as noted by the casual wave.

Other than the drop in, the camping weekend was a success and fun was had by all. I can prove it with these pictures.